Funny you asked! I just got this receiver today, and its the first problem i had. Its the speaker wiring quality. I had thicker better quality wires in center channel speaker and audio was fine. Cheaper thinner on front and kept cutting out on 3 or 4 voulume level. I switched wires just to test and it never cut out again. Audio was fine.Try better thicker wires and u should b alright.
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The errant switch, control or condition may change and you will suddenly release the amp's full power and possibly destroying your speakers. If a signal isn't audible at 1/2 volume it's probably not there.
Carefully examine the front panel for clues like a misplaced Mute or Tape Monitor control or Multichannel Analog Input selected.
There is a good chance that a common control may have developed a high-resistance or 'dead' spot through defect or idleness and is causing your symptom. Turn the POWER OFF and operate every control throughout its range a number of times, especially rarely-used ones like Tape Monitors and the Mute control.
Turn the volume to something reasonable and see if that helped.
First, I have to compliment you on a thorough and comprehensive problem description and an apparent sense of how to troubleshoot. We're halfway there already.
Your Blu-Ray / PS 3 statement is intriguing but with the E-1 code that absolves it as the problem.
You have two opposing symptoms: the live failure says you have a short while the test mode implies an open circuit. We have to isolate everything and see if it moves to another channel.
Let's run with the "E-1: NO FRONT SP" error. I think it's trying to tell us we have an intermittent sensation of an open wire in one of the Front speaker channels. * Unfortunately, the manual doesn't break out Left and Right (but I'm sure the receiver knows) to help us isolate. You say it doesn't get past the Left test. I need you to decide by listening to the Left Front Speaker setup routine if it's really working or not, and if it seems to be working, maybe the receiver is really failing at the point it advances to the Right Speaker, assuming Right follows left in the sequence.
Verify for me: You swapped the two front speakers Left to Right and replaced both speaker wires with NEW wires and had no improvement.
I'm wary of a failcode that doesn't identify which of a pair is failing, so I 'd like to see ALL NEW speaker hardware and connections in place to avoid the pitfall of swapping the L & R with each other and having one of them be the problem without changing the symptom.
We can accomplish this easily: Try temporarily running the rear speakers as the Fronts just to see if the test can pass. If so, test the Fronts as if they're the Rears speakers. You should be able to just swing the receiver-ends of the cables among the speaker posts.
Something should change or else the problem is internal to the receiver. Good luck.